Flossmoor Station's owners, Dean and Carolyn Armstrong, wouldn't let the fact that neither had any prior restaurant experience dampen their dream of building a brewpub they could call their own.Â
The Armstrongs, who are Flossmoor residents, saw the deterioration of the historic old Flossmoor Train Station right before their eyes. The building had long since been replaced by a Metra platform behind the old station, and was carved up into several retail spaces. Run-down and well on its way to being a safety liability, the building badly needed some tender loving care.
When the Illinois Central Railroad built the original building in 1906, there were only six homes in the community of Flossmoor. The area was a weekend and summer getaway for executives who lived and worked in the city, and the convenience of railroad service brought new life to the area. Country clubs sprung up one by one, and soon, businessmen were building homes and commuting to the city daily.
As time went by and eventually rendered the old building obsolete as a train station, it began to crumble into oblivion.Â
Dean Armstrong, an attorney, and his wife and legal assistant, Carolyn, dreamed of having a business of their own someday that was a diversion from their law practice. On an antique-hunting drive through Michigan they stumbled upon an old building which housed a microbrewery. After tasting the homemade brew, they were hooked on handcrafted beer - and the idea of owning their own microbrewery.
After purchasing the old Flossmoor Train Station building, the Armstrongs invested another $1.5 million into turning it back into a sound establishment with the modern conveniences customers expect, but preserving as much of the authentic character as possible. They also met with both skepticism and criticism from some local figures, who feared for the quality of life this quiet bedroom community enjoyed. A large drinking establishment in the middle of the downtown area was certainly not their idea of community development. Such opposition was at times formidable, and expenses ran wild, but the Armstrongs persisted. They acted as their own general contractors and oversaw every detail of the remodeling, down to the miniature tiles on the floor of the brewery that fit together to spell "The Brewhouse".
A consultant was brought in to help design the brewery and begin operation, and dozens of other brewpubs around the country were researched for menu ideas.Â
By the summer of 1996, things were finally falling into place - and Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery celebrated its Grand Opening on July 8, 1996. Its debut was met with great excitement as the community had its first opportunity to see how lovingly the old building was restored, and what a stunning addition it would make to the town. Flossmoor - and South Chicagoland - now had a true "public house" and "community gathering place" - the goal the Armstrongs persisted to achieve.
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